Why does Franck Kessie wear number 79 shirt? Brilliant reason AC Milan star refused new number as he prepares to face Liverpool in Champions League

Franck Kessie is the latest AC Milan player to shun wearing one of football’s traditional numbers on the back of his shirt.

The Rossoneri are famed for allowing their first-team stars to sport an unusual squad number over the years.

AC Milan’s No.79 Franck Kessie has become one of Europe’s best midfielders

Ronaldinho, Mathieu Flamini and Andriy Shevchenko all made headlines for taking the No. 80, 84 and 76 respectively as an ode to the year they were born after signing for Milan back in 2008.

The season before Ronaldo wore the No.99 because Filippo Inzaghi had his favoured No.9 at the time so the Brazil icon opted for a double 9.

Now Kessie – who has attracted Premier League interest from both Arsenal and Spurs – has made his name in the No.79.

The Ivorian started his career with minnows Stella Club, before being picked up by Serie A side Atalanta in 2015.

He was handed the No.98 shirt before he was given the No.19 by La Dea after impressing on loan Serie B club Cesena.

Ronaldinho wore the number 80 while at Milan

Kessie kept the 19 shirt when he joined AC Milan in June 2017 only to allow Leonardo Bonucci to take it upon his arrival a month later.

The midfielder was offered his old kit back just a season later when Bonucci returned to Juventus in a swap deal with Mattia Caldara.

But Kessie refused, saying: “The new management asked me if I want number 19.

“I refused it because I feel good with the 79 and I did not want the fans who already bought my shirt to spend money again.”

Kessie will line up against Liverpool in the No.79 tonight in a clash that brings back memories of the 2005 Champions League final where the Reds incredibly came back from 3-0 down to beat Milan on penalties.

Against the odds, Liverpool became European champions in 2005

The Italians were 3-0 up at half time in Istanbul and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who was in his first managerial gig at Mainz at the time, admitted he almost switched the match off.

“At that time I was neither an AC Milan or Liverpool supporter watching the Champions League final and after 3-0, with all the things said before about Milan being the favourites, it looked like the game was decided,” said Klopp.

“I was thinking about not watching the second half because everyone in the world apart from the few people in the Liverpool dressing room thought this game might be decided.

“And then it became one of the biggest football sensations ever and I was really happy that I didn’t switch the telly off and I watched the whole game.”